Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.


Rome Revision Notes

Classics Notes > An Introduction to Ancient History Notes

This is an extract of our Rome Revision document, which we sell as part of our An Introduction to Ancient History Notes collection written by the top tier of King's College London students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our An Introduction to Ancient History Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Rome Revision 9: Foundation, Monarchy to Republic 1) History of Rome
History of Republic = 500 years. Can read it as a democratic state or an oligarchic system that gave rights to the people = all readings based on modern history and the time in which it was created.
Our evidence for the Republic comes from later writers - Cicero, Livy, Sallust, some Greek writers.
The traditions we have = history or myth? 350 = when we start getting a reliable history of Rome.
Nothing of the constitution. No inscriptions. Must question = is the history of Rome mostly 4 th century propaganda.
2) Founding myths
Romulus and Remus = wolf then becomes the symbol of Rome. Myths circulate around many societies and literary traditions repeat each other. Aeneid gives us a founding myth. The variety of myths = contradictory; 754 is the date we have for the founding of Rome but that doesn't agree with
Trojan War chronology. Vergil thus gives some bullshit explanation.
3) Archaeology
Italy develops two different cultures - Villanovan/Etruscans and Latial/italians. Distinguished by different pottery and burial traditions. Main Italic language = Oscan spoken by Samnites.
South = indigenous people and later Greek colonisation of Sicily and southern Italy. Italy = patchwork of diff langauges and people. Etruscans connected w Greek peoples first.
770-600 = proto-urban settlements. Little groups of huts. 600-500 = where we start getting cities and
Rome has a perimeter; Forum = paved, temples put up.
4) Kings
Historical/mythical?? Canonical list has 7 kings but there were 8 - ruled together? Many others have claims to kingship also - repetitive of claims in the canonical list of kings. Kings have narrative function before all else. Issues with Tarquini - same people? Myths about figures that may have existed but are just exaggerated. All kings are outsiders - migration of aristocratic rulers who travelled around. Many states had rulers of different ethnicities - the elite would shift quickly.
Official called 'rex' early on = is that the origin of the kings we think we know? Evidence suggests the
'rex' was a priestly office.
Central Italy = moving to an urbanised society w social mobility.
5) Republic
Distinctive due to senate and assembly of the people. Essence of republic can be seen with consuls -
codified a record of consuls though the early list is unreliable. Praetors = weird.
Traditions of early Rome do not align with our traditional image of Republic.
650-450 = shifting political system to various aristocratic leaders working together - fluid system as they figure out rules. 368 = establishment of political system as we know it. 6) 495-287
Struggle of the Orders = battle between patricians and plebeian elite. The patricians emerge = a closed group, stop outsiders stealing their power, self-defined club.
Emergence of Senate = chose the kings, old men who were consulted about decisions. Emerges 4 th century? Becomes formalised into a static body, in 200 we know consuls were chosen by the senate.
Artistocratic method of policing opponents = voting allowed to only certain people, similar with laws.
Struggle of the Orders = new Roman aristocracy and the emergence of popular power. Also see the development of an army to protect the land.
Abolition of nxum = to do with obligation and tying yourself to certain aristocrats.
7) The Francois tomb at Vulci
Lavish family tombs with paintings inside (= dedications). Vulci - conquered 280BC, major Etruscan city.
Owes most influence to Greeks and Greek myth = scenes from Troy and the Theban cycle.
Rome has battles with Tarquinians and Vulci - scenes show Vulci killing foreigners. Can see repetitive literary traditions cycling through diff societies.
8) Early Rome and Roman law - 12 Tables
We have fragments of the 12 tables = first law code in 452. Earliest code of law for Roman tablets.
Decemviri appointed in 452 to draw up laws and unwritten customs. Largely know about the 12 tables from quotations. Many principles carry down through the centuries.
9) Women in Rome
Owned by father and then husband. Naming of daughters shows how they do not have their own identity = take the family name.
Livy = 59BCE-17CE. Wrote a monumental history of Rome in 142 books - writing in the reign of
Augustus. On familiar terms with the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Wished to "preserve the memory of the deeds of the world's preeminent nation" = clear what his intentions are and his feelings towards
Rome are?
Ab Urbe Condita = 142 books of which 1-10 and 21-45 survive complete. Ranges from Rome's foundational myths to his own time. Book 1 = narrates some of the most famous legends of the
Roman past such as the Rape of the Sabines and the Rape of Lucretia.
How should we read 'legendary' history like this, written long after the events they supposedly describe? Some basis of truth btu inaccurate amounts of detail. Reflection of Roman ideals and their opinion of themselves - constructing an identity rather than recording a history.

1.9-10: the rape of the Sabine women.

Glorifies Rome but does not comment on this barbaric act.
Tracks the importance of the temple of Jupiter using this story. 

Portrays Romulus in a positive light?
Retroactively explains Rome's origin and grandness - conflates their current state with their past.

1.57-60: the legend of Lucretia.

Focus on the mistreatment of the plebians.
Lucretia = paragon of virtue, the original Roman matrona = used as an example for women in the present day?
Lucretia is an excuse to riot - they tolerated the deep-seated issues of kingship until Lucretia provided an easy excuse.
Roman ideal of severitas with Brutus while Tarquinius is a servant to his passion.
Lucretia's death = symbolic, hyperbolic.

10: Roman Republic: Warfare and Conquest 1. Warfare and Conquests
Phase 1 - 500-259BC - conquered Italy:

Tradition has it that Rome made a treaty w Carthage and expelled the kings in 509 - too suspect. Roman dating = fits a narrative, more accurate from 250BC.
Evidence presents image of Rome as a leader. Livy would have us think the Latins revolt even though they are subjugated when it is more likely an opposition to Rome's aggressive expansion.
All Latin cities are rivals but band together against the Volscii. 4 th century = powerful and so wars w other Latin cities - declared leader in 338. Reciprocal relationship developed = Latin cities are municipium that submit to Rome in military matters. The status Latin becomes a political identifier for conquered cities.
3996 = conquered the Etruscan city to north - doubling their size and population - they were able to defeat the Latins later because they were the biggest state.
390 = Gauls sack Rome. No archaeological evidence for it. Builds an ethos of victimhood.
Wars against Samnites. Traditionally 3 wars but the 2 nd likely occurred and is crucial. Roman description of the 2nd half draws on Greek literary tradition, i.e. the Peloponnesian War.
Caudine Forks leads to peace, Rome gains Campagnia. 3rd Samnite War = against hilled
Samnites - colonies put up. Controls most of Italy.
What enables them to expand?
o Stupidity of allies who didn't call for help.
o Romans good at divide and rule.
o Makes states dependent allies. Their war aims were exceptional - empire.
o Army enables them to do this. By 296, had 4 legions and 27,000 allied troops. They use the poor as manpower by giving them the status of Latins.
o Develop the Samnite method of fighting.

Phase 2 - overseas conquests, starting with 2nd Punic War in 264.

1st ad 3rd less known than 2nd - where Hannibal controls Italy for 17 years = manages this as the many Italians opposed the Romans. Mistake of Hannibal meant that Rome were able to invade Carthage.
Sources portray Rome as the victim who had to defend themselves against Carthage - lies.
3rd war - brutality, excuse to raze Carthage in 146.
Romans pursue policy of making alliances w the East and using them as excuses. Pick a fight w Phillip of Macedon and were nearly defeated.
196 - 'free' the Greeks but on the condition that there were to be no alliances - breaking up leagues.
176 - when there's a revolt, Greece becomes semi-subject to Rome and prisoners are taken.
146 - sacking of Corinth as an example - preferred method of dealing with things.

Roman Imperialism - Sudden burst of areas becoming provinces under Pompey in the Late Republic.
Roman Empire has not much expansion under Augustus.

In the West is where Roman rule begins. Sicily after 1 st Punic War - took money from them.
Praetors replace the junior magistrates there initially. Sicily and Sardinia = first provinces.
Province = magistrate looks at it but no army. Settled violently if not agreeable. Do not need land outside the Italy after the Poe Valley.
Attempt to take Spain after the Hannibalic War - divides into 2 provinces. Every year, there is a war until Augustus conquers it in 10 years after 200 years fighting wars. Why? War becomes a way of life and economy. Peace generally with the provinces is not a profitable option.
Evidence for Roman expansion = Polybius and Livy. Not much of Livy remains = 220-170 and then some of the first century. Plutarch later in the 1 st century AD = not accurate.

2. Religion
Polybius in Book 6 claims the Roman constitution is why they were able to conquer others. Claimed religion held together the Roman masses as they were superstitious. Religion, in Rome compared to
Greece, was more extensive and rituals were v important. This is the view of a Greek aristocrat who disapproved of the demos having a say in politics.
Key characteristics of Roman religion:

Gods = humanised and anthropomorphic.
Keen on blood sacrifices and are careful with the particulars.
Priests were members of the elite and existed in collegia. Haruspices (Etruscans normally)
were the professionals.
Religious power divided by priests and magistrates - latter in charge of sacrifices, advised by the former. Senate = ultimate colleg of priests.
Priestesses = only the Vestal Virgins.
Religion was decided to decide whether an action was iustum. Auspices were taken before any public or provate event. Impressed Polybius.
FAKE HISTORY - Livy discusses the foundation of the Fetiales which Augustus reinstates to declare war against Mark Antony. Livy = Augustan reinvention to justify the civil war.
Romans declaring war = bellum iustum. If they lost, they weren't fighting a iustum bellum.
Consult a variety of religious texts or oracles.

Greek aristocrat who was brought to Rome and lived with Scipio Aemilianus - eyewitness to what goes on as he was living in a Roman noble household, switched allegiances to the Romans and went on campaign with Scipio. A politician formerly and was detained in 167-50.
Wrote his Histories in Greek in 40 books, covering the period 256-146BCE. The work describes the rise of the Roman Republic to the status of dominance in the ancient Mediterranean world and includes his eyewitness account of the Sack of Carthage in 146 BC.
Why do you think Polybius chose to wrote this work, and for whom? What is the significance of his choice of subject (the rise of Rome and conquest of other great states), given Polybius' own personal experience of Roman military superiority? How in control of their own historical trajectory are the Romans, according to Polybius? What lies ahead for them in the future?
Known for his assertion that historians should never report what they cannot verify through interviews with witnesses. 11: Roman Politics in the Middle to Late Republic

1. Citizenship
Census recorded citizens in the Late Republic. 35 tribes, 31 rurual and 4 in the city of Rome =
geographical units. When a new area was captured, it was added onto existing. 14 [boyhood to manhood], 17 [eligible for most things, full citizens] and 25 = key ages.
Naming = significant - sign that the father recognised you as a legitimate child.
Citizens divided by wealth and status. Census = divided into classes by your wealth - enormous drop between 4th and 5th classes - includes more poor people. Infra classem = citizens that have no property. Division = assidui [have property] and proletarii [breeders]. For politics and taxes this division was useful.
Elite groups at the top = 1st classis = the gentry who got various privileges. 1 st = senatorial ordo, 300600, senators and sons of senators. 2nd = equites, 1800 or more as it had men who were wealthier than the gentry; 129 = defined as anyone who had 400,000 HS. Equites and senators cannot be divided as the former dealing with business and the latter being senators - they all dealt w business,
came from the same families, just different routes they could follow.
Patria potestas - eldest man had power over the family. Women remained under patria potestas.
Freedmen or libertus had disadvantages but their son would be a full citizen due to patria potestas.
Census numbers may be inaccurate. Taken every 5 years. Huge jump between 150-120 (70000) =
result of Gracchan settlement scheme. 70BCE = big jump, registration of the socii.
Comparison to Athens = much more distance between centre and other settlements. Divided into tribes as well as municipium = bound together by communal citizenship.

2. Politics
System of patronage - relationship of dependence; asymmetrical system of power. Pyramid system.
Morning process of salutation = important as it explains the relations of Roman society. Amicitia =
contacts, equal power. Senators would combine their clients and achieve their goals - coherent as a group and wouldn't all the poor disturb it.
Accumulation of laws and ancestral customs - never dropped, just remain. Rewrite their early history to justify their actions. Fluid system which had advantages and disadvantages - led to structural issues.
1) COMITIA CURIATA - practically defunct by 2BC but people still turn up.
2) COMITIA CENTURIATA - citizens organised in voting blocks called hundreds - citizens as armies, defined by classis. Would vote in the century  70 - 1st classes, 18 - equites, 2nd - 5th classes - 100, others - 4, proletarii - 1 = 193. The first classis would usually have a majority if they vote similarly - absolute poor would rarely ever be asked to vote!! 18 equites would barely have any people - vote would count more than those of 2 nd - 5th. Privileges those wealthy - mostly elects consuls, praetors and censors. Also, votes for war.
3) COMITIA TRIBUTA - 35 tribes. No wealth bias - all votes counts. Passed leges and elected junior magistrates. More fair and votes faster - used for most legislation.
4) ? COMITIA PLEBIS - modern scholars are divided if this is the same as 3). Does this one just refer to the assemblies called by tribunes.
Cf. lex afraria - 111BC - Romans were confused about the distinction between 3) and 4).
No regular meetins of assemblies - summoned by magistrates, vote in units until decision reached.
Peer pressure as votes were open.
Executive gov in the hands of annual elected magistrates. Senior = have imperium and can issue edicta; junior - elected by comitia tribute. By late republic, all magistrates hold imperium.

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our An Introduction to Ancient History Notes.

More An Introduction To Ancient History Samples